Lauren is a writer living in New York City. Follow her at LaurenNostro. Given his past at The Source and a well-known feud with Eminem, it may have been surprising to see the Boston native crying on national television at first, but being more in touch with his feelings is a main component of what Benzino considers his "natural evolution.
Atlanta rolls around tonight, Benzino spoke with Complex about his relationship with Karlie, how he's become a changed man, and gave some insight on all of the drama behind Stevie J's relationships. We had been working on some music and when I got to Atlanta, we formed a band together and it was pretty much the relationship that you see on there with me and Stevie.
We give each other advice. He knows my kids. I know his kids. I had been going around with Stevie and I had seen Karlie a couple times on set. The one time when they were shooting Karlie meeting Stevie, I was outside. So when Karlie came outside, that was the first time we met. We met off-camera, we went out on a date. At first I was a little bit leery, a little skeptical. I see things differently. What made you realize you had to change yourself?
Not being self-centered and being aware of what I say and what I do as a public figure, as a celebrity, and how it affects other people. They live with me. I want to be a real role model to them and show them better. Do you believe in her career? Do you think she has real talent? I believe she does have talent. I really feel like a man should go all out for the woman that they fall in love with or the woman they have a real strong connection with.
With that said, if somebody takes advantage, then you have to re-think things. When I met Karlie, it was a real connection. Both of us had been in the industry and we just had a real, strong connection.
It happened real fast. Sometimes opposites can be a little bit too much, but I definitely can say that what you see on camera is real. My feelings for Karlie that are on camera are definitely what they are. I had gave Karlie the key two months after us talking. Of course, friends and family and management can give their opinions but you really have to go with your heart.
It bothered me a little bit when it kept coming up. It gets frustrating because it starts to get redundant. Were those tears of frustration then or were you genuinely sad? I definitely got caught up in the moment. I want to surround myself with positive situations and positive energy. The past is the past. I think a lot of the focus was on my past, and yes, I got caught up. I got emotional on camera.
I have a year-old and a year-old. Everybody tunes in, so of course they tune in. They like to watch the show with me. What can we expect for the future of your relationship? I really do want to be with one woman and really see how that bond between two people, wholeheartedly supporting each other, works out with marriage.
I really envy that. They rock out through their differences. But also, relationships like Obama and Michelle. It might sound corny but I really want that in my life.
Do you watch them every week? My kids know Karlie. They have a great relationship with Karlie but they just want to see me happy. Definitely portrayed in a fair light. I cook so I have no problem with cooking for a female.
I was brought up by a beautiful mother and a father that understands how to treat women. As far as manners, open up the door, let a woman on and off an elevator first.
What are your surefire moves to romance a woman? If their hair looks good. What is your favorite compliment to give? You know, "Your eyes look amazing. Your eyes look beautiful. Also, if a woman has children, to show interest in their children, show interest in what they do as well as women, what they do. In the conversation, show interest in what they are about and what their children are about. Conversations about fashion are definitely a great thing to do. A surefire thing is also gifts.
You have to be great in bed. You have to be a passionate person. You gotta be able to put it down. Jacob the Jeweler, of course a very famous jeweler. This one particular time, I actually flew in Jacob, and this was with a celebrity, to put it around her neck on her birthday.
A huge diamond necklace. It looked like something the Queen of England would wear. It made her really happy. Her mother was there, all her friends.
That was an incredible moment. Besides extravagant gifts, what other advice can you give for random surprises? Karlie was into acting and I bought her a book about filmmaking. Anything that you do, if you put passion into it, then everything works out alright.
Throughout the season, it seems like you've been put in the middle of Stevie's love triangle. You have no idea. I knew her before she got with Stevie, so we were talking and I am in the middle. I would hate that if I was going through that and someone did that to me.
I felt genuinely bad about calling Mimi by Joseline. I hope Mimi really understood it was a mistake. Whatever happens with Stevie and Mimi, people need to understand that there is a child involved and that should be the number one concern. As long as Stevie is handling his business with Eva, if he chooses to stay with Joseline or if he chooses to go back with Mimi, the number one priority should be the child.
Everything else will work itself out. Stevie has to be able to make a choice. Have I been monogamous in relationships in the past? Do I understand the importance of monogamy now in relationships? If you want to avoid problems and issues and craziness, then yes, you have to be a one woman man and women have to be a one man woman.
In the last episode before the finale, Joseline comes to your house and you just look bothered. Who do you think is the better fit for Stevie? Joseline being young, she has a lot of stuff to work out within herself. What I like about Joseline is that for as much as she might say stuff about Stevie, she still builds him up and gives him the props.
I think Mimi, having the baby, genuinely loves Stevie beyond the industry stuff. Do you think he will? I got a pretty big crib. What was your reaction to that? He was imitating her singing. Karlie looks at it and it just motivates her to put out bigger songs and do better.